Assilah is one of the most interesting tourist places in northern Morocco. A city that you can find with its Arabic name, but do not be surprised if you see it with the reference of Arcila, which would be its place name in Spanish. We prefer to refer to it by its original name of Assilahsince this way it evokes much more the trip to the East that this population proposes to us.
How to get to Assilah?
It may seem that you are going to travel very far and, nevertheless, you will make a trip to a place very close to the Strait of Gibraltar. The best way to get there from Spain is by taking a ferry from Tarifa or Algeciras to the city of Tangierand there take the train to Assilah.
The trains that link both populations pass very frequently, leaving almost every hour, and the journey takes about 30 minutesgiven that the distance between Tangier and Assilah does not reach 50 kilometers.
“You know a road more from having traveled it than from all the guesswork and descriptions in the world.”
The beaches of Assilah
Assilah is a town on the Moroccan Atlantic coast, and is a traditional vacation spot for the inhabitants of that area of the country, given its exceptional beaches bathed by the ocean. In fact, the population today largely lives from tourism, something that can be seen, for example, in its port, where fishing boats are combined with sports boats.
By the way, these fishermen supply the numerous restaurants in the town with their product. Some restaurants that are found both in the medina or old city, and in the new town beyond the walls. And in any of them they will serve abundant fresh fish, at very affordable prices. You can’t miss savoring a grilled fish and seafood during a trip to this beautiful Moroccan city.
We have already advanced the old city of assilah is walled, something that cannot be surprising when knowing its history. And it is that Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Arabs, Portuguese or Spanish have passed through here. In other words, we visited some streets full of history.
Streets, in addition, really very well maintained, since Assilah’s medina is a labyrinth of very clean alleys, with whitewashed houses and with details in indigo blue, the wrought iron on the bars, wooden lattices and many flowers.
Therefore the set has a great attraction for the visitor. But also, there are buildings with a special role, for example, the entrance gates to the medina. They are Bab al Bahr and the gate El Bab El Houmar, that is, the gate of the sea and the gate of the land, respectively. By the way, in the second you can see the coat of arms of Portugal, which reminds us that this was a Portuguese domain.
Logically, also during this walk you will find different mosques, as well as the important Hassan II Cultural Center. A place where different and interesting international meetings are scheduled. And of all of them the most important is the Assilah Festival.
The Assilah Culture Festival
The medina of this Moroccan city is unlike any other you have visited in the country. And it is for many reasons. Here order and cleanliness is the norm, as well as the fact that there is no big souk, but the vast majority are buildings in which one can stay. And in addition to all this, During the walk through the streets of Assilah, one discovers that many walls are the support of unique murals.
They are murals that are renewed every year within the framework of the Assilah Culture Festival, which is on its way to its 40th anniversary. It began as a project in which the charm of a somewhat abandoned old city was recovered.
However, today it is one of its hallmarks, since the murals give it a special personality. The event takes place in Augustbut obviously its artistic effects last throughout the year in the streets of Assilah.